Life & Death

October 28, 2011

Picked my wife some flowers with the boys while out hiking and a few days later I couldn’t resist noticing how the light passed through the dried up flowers and stems.


Where I am at

June 22, 2011

It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything and I’m pretty sure the only reader of this is myself, but it’s a healthy practice, so why not?

The spring semester ended very well. It’s always encouraging to see so many of my students want to succeed and put in the work. I’ve made friends with Ross Bennett at Kilgore Screen Printing, who gladly opened his doors one night to my students. We were able to get a hands on understanding on the screen printing process and even got to pull a squeegee and press some ink onto a t-shirt.

Summer could not have come any sooner. Between having a new baby (now 3 months old), working full-time and also teaching part-time at night – sleep, quality time with my family and sanity were not happening. I’ve been able to slow down this summer, spend a lot of time with my boys and wife too. We salvaged a big swing set and after spending a whopping $8 on some bolts and wood, now have a great play set for my boys to enjoy in the backyard under the shade of a tree.

Our efforts to grow a real lawn in our front yard and grow flowers/veggies has been a struggle and costly too (water bill the 1st month was out of site) but is showing positive results. My wife adores zinnias so we made a large flower bed in the front and one on the side of our home. Butterflies, bees and hummingbirds enjoy zinnias for their tasty offerings. We enjoy them for the bright & vibrant colors they display.

Seems like we went from spring to sweltering 100+ temps in a week. Our veggies are struggling to produce much now, but are standing tall and will kick back in later this summer hopefully.

I’m wanting to give gifts of Italian seasoning to my family for Christmas, which we grow at home in an organic way to offer them the best quality seasoning. So far it’s been going well, but it was shocking how little you get once it’s dried and crushed down.

My mother and sister visited us this year, which was due entirely to our precious new baby. We enjoyed their company and getting to spend time with my nephew was great! My boys are wild about them and fall into a depression for days after they leave TX.

My sister in Chicago is getting married this August. My wife and I have been helping orchestrate the event decor which includes designing the invitation, planning the theme and decorations and developing as much of this now at home before the hectic weekend happens. I still need to saw several discs from an old tree to use as the base for each tables flowers, plus one for the base of the cake. My eldest sister works for a flower shop so we’ll have a good, fresh selection to use. We also plan to harvest several large branches to use for the center pieces on each table, the arch they will be married under and in the background of the photo area. BTW…I will be shooting my first wedding too!

Creative wise, I’ve learned a bit about cross processing photos and have tried to be more aware of my framing and shoot full-frame, no cropping allowed in PSD. Campus has slowed down so there’s no as much requiring me to document with the camera. What does come up I’ll glady take a more thorough look into and make sure my execution is more on target. I’ve also had the pleasure to develop two logos for start up companies in the financial and clothing arena, which has been very enjoyable. If I could create visual identity all day long as a job, I’d do so.

Tshirt Trek

January 14, 2011

My new job at Kilgore College has allowed me to get back to the roots of what I love…design. One of the more enjoyable projects I’ve been able to work on has been a t-shirt for the Recruitment Services department that will be used when prospective students come and tour our campus. The design had to be trendy and appeal to grab the attention of these 18-20 year old students and be worn and not just used as an oil rag or left in your trunk. While our school colors are blue and gray, I was asked to work on some using just black, white and gray. Below is the transition from each round of concepts until the final solution was chosen.

Please send me any and all feedback or comments on the artwork, as it’s not only welcomed, but will better me in the long run.

tshirt concepts #1

tshirt concepts #2

tshirt concepts #3

tshirt concepts #4

These were the final selections.

Tshirt 1 artwork

Tshirt 1 artwork big


Tshirt 2 artwork

Tshirt 2 artwork big


January 5, 2011

It’s my strongest desire to capture this life I am living in both in terms of achieving goals and desires to improve my relationships and also visually. Pencils, images, created, composed, observed & baked. I adore natural light and prefer to shoot in it. Sure soft boxes and strobes are fun and provide a reliable source of light, but in my opinion, nothing is as dramatic or pure as natural light. I’m beginning to look at the world differently thru a new set of eyes, just like I did when I began to notice graphic design, especially typography and logos. Like all other things, it sits there like white noise, out of the scene and underground until you study and appreciate it. At that point BAM, you are overwhelmed and notice it’s everywhere. Skin tones and facial expressions are worth a few thousand words.

The Lord is good

November 5, 2010

assistant zah makerI woke up sometime before 4am with this verse in my mind from the book of Nahum “The LORD is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him.” Currently ,there’s a lot going on in in my life both with my job and family. My wife and I were discussing how each new kid we have has required more of a sacrifice of our own time. So with each new baby, we basically need to surrender a percentage more of what little free time we have to give to their care, attention and loving on. I think anyone with tackle can become a father to a child, but it takes a serious commitment to be a good parent.I look to my right and we’ve got a few 8×10’s hung of Wyatt when he was an infant. Where has time gone. God’s pulled us through all the life changes in 3+ years of being parents and will continue to guide us. This does not mean I’ll always make the best choice and follow His leading, but He is indeed guiding us, protecting the path before us and wants to take us to “still waters” as mentioned in Psalm 23. My back is on the verge of going out, leaving me immobile on the floor or bed for several days. I know the warning signs and stages of pain & sensation that come before I’m taken out of commission. So much stirring on my mind with my job, this house, debt, missing quality time with my wife. For the first time ever, my older son told my wife “daddy’s being mean to me” yesterday evening after I yelled at him in the kitchen while making pizza and told him to go and play somewhere else. I wanted him to help me, just not at that moment and all he wanted was to be next to me and interact after not seeing me much this week due to me picking up some extra teaching work. This really hurts me to know and prompted me to look at the reason why I acted like that towards him. Stress. I’m under a lot of stress and not coping with it safely or efficiently at all.

God, help me to trust in you.


September 2, 2010

To increase my ability to think visually, please submit single words that I’ll use to create 22 thumbnail sketches from each day during September. I promise to share them all on 9/30. Thanks for your participation.

Tossing Around

August 20, 2010

Those thoughts that pull you out of  deep sleep and begin to churn the engines before the birds are even awake. Those are the thoughts that I try to avoid, but often become engulfed in. My life has drastically changed this summer. Back in late May or early June I began to pray “God do not let this summer end without changing me for the better, teaching me new things about you growing me closer to you.” Do I take my God for granted that He does not actually listen to my prayers? No, but I am not used to a bold response like I experienced starting in late June. The comforts we establish in our lives are placed in an attempt to provide peace, a solid foundation to rely upon and be aided by. It’s somewhat shocking when those are ripped apart by God and He places a massive 20 x 60′  billboard with flashing lights right in the middle of our life. Something that one can’t ignore or look past, over, beyond or any other preposition that comes to mind. I love the Lord, my wife, kids and the great new job I have. Thank you Lord for allowing me to play, use the gifts and talents you gave me each day. I adore creation, pencil on paper, crop marks, ink wells, baselines and good lighting. Selah.


July 31, 2010

While growing up, my older sister(s) influenced me life with a broad array of music, most notably Crosby Still Nash & Young, or CSNY as she called ’em. This band introduced to me what true musical talent was, vocals, strings and harmony like no other. The 4 members each brought something amazing to the table and produced songs that stirred generations of listeners. I miss those days of driving into Chicago to visit my grandma, pushing 85 mph in a 2-door Escort, widows down, Russel sweatshirts on our backs and nothing but smiles. Divorce is never good, but a determined mother and a few sisters can make up for this and then some. THANKS!

On another note, I’ve been hired and have enjoyed my 1st week on the new job. Being a creative is a better than good. I appreciate all industries and those who put in a full day at any profession, but I am grateful I can say I’m a graphic designer. On top of this is the responsibility of being a photographer for the campus too, which means I’m re-familiarizing myself with the camera, which has gone digital since leaving college. There’s jobs, then there’s a career. I’ve explored many jobs and can say I’m back where my heart belongs and ready to dig in for the long haul.

Independence Day

July 5, 2010

Living in Texas has it’s fair share of up’s and down’s compared to where I growing up outside of Chicago. Today this was very obvious with a lack of any form of a parade, which to me is one of the 4 parts to the 4th of July: parade, family, food & fireworks. I understand the heat is a good reason nobody would want to stand outside at noon to watch floats pass on by, old over weight men sporting funny caps driving tiny cars dangerously close to each other. Along with marching bands who’d be sweating bullets and horses not enjoying the swelter, but it’s integral for me to know it’s Independence Day. We did enjoy my wife’s family, dine on some delish BBQ’d food, homemade ice cream and I even took a 2 hr nap with my son, both of which never happen. We got home well after dark, but we still managed to light one bog firework off and to my surprise, he did not freak out like in seasons past. We enjoyed the fountain of color and light, then each held a sparkler to cap off the night.

While eating a piece of steak this evening around friends, which I marinated with my Uncle Red’s famous seasoning mix, I realized that while celebrating the liberation of the original 13 colonies from English oppression, I’m now independent of any established 9-5 job, which has not happened for over 4 years, since first moving south to Texas.

Not a coincidence, but we’re currently 1/3 of the way through John Adams, the HBO documentary about John Adams and his role in the the Declaration of Independence. What an amazing, informative film it is. Our nation was founded by rebels, men who risked it all for something they believed in. I’m proud to live here and while our nation has seen better days, we can still work towards re-establishing the importance of declaration and making our nation return to being under God.

Sure I’m not in Kansas anymore, but it’s home.

Been Too Long

July 2, 2010

Spent the morning stacking blocks and building what Wyatt called Chicago. It’s been a while since we’ve taken them out and built things. He loves to drive his cars through the many tunnels we make.